My name is Courtney Wyngaard and I am from Athlone. I am 25yrs old. Before joining RLabs, I graduated from university, I studied music at UCT in 2020. I was unemployed after graduation and was on the hunt to find job opportunities. It was hard looking for work because each job required work experience and I had none. There were so many rejections that I felt like giving up but then I saw the opportunity to join RLabs. I applied for the opportunity, and other job opportunities in case I did not make the cut for RLabs. I prayed constantly about getting a job and in February I started working at a bank called Finbond, during that time I remained hopeful that I would get the opportunity to join RLabs and a few months later, I signed my contract with RLabs in May of 2021. I had overcome many challenges, especially unemployment.
I always had a good support system which included my parents and close friends. I also have a good belief system and my faith in God with constant prayer got me through many difficult times. What helped me was manifesting what I wanted in life through writing my goals and dreams down (making my vision plain). Listening to motivational speeches helped me deal with rejection, and reading allowed me to gain more knowledge to up skill myself. My determination to be the best version of myself got me through many difficult situations and having a changed mindset allowed me to step out of my comfort zone. Being unemployed made me get to know myself better and evaluate my strengths and weaknesses and become more desirable when it comes to being employed.
I heard about RLabs through a relative, she posted opportunities on her status. The factors that led me to apply for the opportunity was that I was eager to learn and upskill myself for future employment, the RLabs opportunity was the perfect fit so I took the leap of faith and applied. I went through an interview process with a few members of the RLabs company. I did a test and had to submit it as well. I had gotten callbacks for my second interview and then I went through a two-day Bootcamp. After the Bootcamp, I had to go for fingerprints and sign my contract.
The opportunity has been extremely beneficial and I am extremely grateful because Covid has affected many people. Many people have lost their jobs so I am blessed to be able to have an opportunity to have a job and learn new digital skills. The best part of this opportunity is working from home which is ideal being that Covid is spreading so rapidly. The ability to form connections even when it’s virtual is refreshing. The ability to get to know people without meeting was interesting because I love speaking to people face to face, it was an adjustment that I conquered. Being able to get an income and join learning opportunities that the company provided was amazing, not only do we get an income but we also gain experience and exposure to opportunities.
I can build more positive connections with people. This experience has tested my abilities and made me realise that I can achieve things that I never thought would be possible. I have made amazing friends and colleagues through this experience. People that I can depend on which I never really had before. The Leadership course was extremely beneficial, I learned a lot about myself and how much I’ve grown. I’ve learnt through this experience how strong I am. I have been told that I am a good leader and that my work ethic inspires others to do the same. My openness and general concern for others have made people feel more comfortable talking to me and asking me for help when it comes to working. My accountability and reliability have worked in my favour when having to ask people in higher positions about concerns.
I always took initiative. I was the go-between when concerns arrived within my peer group about work. My effective communication with leads and management allowed me to get things done and follow-ups increased my ability of transparency. I was the one that people came to if they were unclear about a certain task, needed help, to bounce off ideas and I would advise if needed. My openness and friendly personality made it easier for people to talk to me and ask for help. In group tasks, I would always be asked to take the leadership role because of my unbiased opinions and my ability to make everyone feel included. My communication skills and my ability to plan worked to my advantage increased my productivity, and I developed a good work ethic.
I am more confident in myself and my abilities. I am not afraid to ask questions anymore. I can share my opinions without feeling scared or ashamed. I am more open to other people’s criticism than I was before. I have learnt to listen more and observe more than before. I was a shy person and a bit introverted before joining RLabs. I always cared what people thought about me but I believe in myself more now than I used to.
One of the key things that I’ve learnt is to not stress over things I have no control over. Listening more with intention allows me to problem solve better and find solutions more easily. Being more intentional with my approach to tasks allows me to complete them more effortlessly and increases my productivity by half. I never knew that I could lead a group when it comes to group work because I was used to working alone. I have discovered that there’s not just one solution to solve problems and that no idea is a stupid one. I have learnt how to smart search and therefore it has now become second nature. I never thought I could learn something new within the Technology Industry but I surprised myself through the RLabs opportunity.
I had to change my mindset and adapt to the work environment and people. I had to be more understanding when people had other things to do when I needed answers immediately for certain tasks. Doing things on my own and taking initiative was my go-to. One of many challenges for me was not being able to control certain things, for example; last-minute meetings which affected my productivity, deadlines that were either extended or reduced, some unrealistic expectations that were hard to meet but I found a way around it due to effective research and problem-solving. Working in teams where half did the work and the others did not. Communication with our heads was sometimes frustrating in instances where quick responses were needed for certain work. Transparency was a problem sometimes, but I solved it with persistent communication and transparency from my end. I always asked questions to gain clarity on what was expected of me even when responses were vague.
I wanted to learn new skills and also move out of my comfort zone. I wanted a change of pace and to challenge myself more. I wanted to allow myself to be more creative and open-minded to new ideas. I wanted to be a part of a team that I can grow with and also grow within myself. I have become more outspoken and open-minded. I have become better at problem-solving and asking smart questions. I also realized that I can be a good leader when it comes to group work and my work ethic has improved tremendously. I ask more questions and provide more solutions than I did before. Working for RLabs has allowed me to think more outside of the box which would benefit large scale communities in future. My communication and transparency have improved through working with different individuals within the company.
My highlights were meeting new people and making friends that I can depend on. The Leadership hike was really fun because I got to connect with individuals in person. The leadership group became my family which I will cherish. Another Highlight would be creating a website by coding it. I never thought I could do it but I proved myself wrong and now I am more confident about my abilities.
The low lights would be feeling rushed when it came to certain deadlines and always having a sense of anxiety to not only get things done but to give my best all the time. I managed to meet the deadlines ahead of time which was always a rewarding feeling. The thing that got me through it was the support from my leadership family and friends that I developed a strong bond.
Having an income gives me independence and self-reliance. It creates a sense of freedom. It allows me to save and invest to create wealth and stability. Being financially stable is a goal of mine, and it’s getting me one step closer to that goal to either start a business or save up for a course that I am interested in.
Working on the Yes mobile apps has given me confidence and made me hopeful for future employment. It has also opened my eyes to other opportunities like starting a business. It has enriched my mind and allowed me to be more open-minded about the needs within my community and the communities of others. I’ve learnt new ways to make myself more desirable when it comes to companies that need employees.
My advice to youth out there is that persistence and consistency are key. Manifest your goals and dreams by writing them out and visualizing your future. Have faith and believe in yourself. Prayer changes things. Be grateful for every opportunity that comes your way because it is a stepping stone to your purpose which God has in store for you. Be thankful for the closed doors in life because they prepare you for greater things. Embrace rejection and failure because they are essential for growth and without it you wouldn’t have a testimony that could inspire many and can be a survival guide to life. Experience builds character. Do not compare your season with someone else’s because you might just miss your blessings.
Thank you to RLabs and YES for allowing me to grow as an individual. Thank you for allowing me to constantly work on myself and the goals I want to achieve. Thank you for the work experience that I have gained on this journey not only professionally but also within my personal development.
The Skills Accelerator is a proudly RLabs initiative that is made possible thanks to the support of JPMorgan Chase.